Sunday, July 6, 2008

Things To Do...

68 hours, 51 minutes and 31 seconds until Journey's End is downloaded. No. Wait. 29 hours, 31 minutes and 30 seconds. 41 hours, 19 minutes and 22 seconds. Stupid bit torrent downloader calculates the ETA based on the strength of a torrent, which is continually changing as billions of people around the world try to download the exact same file as me. Is this the most eagerly anticipated episode ever? Surely Doomsday was up there... or Parting of the Ways... or a dozen other things. All I know is that Turn Left was, on the bit torrent community, considered only slightly more interesting than Daleks in Manhatten, which I downloaded in less than six hours.

Either way, I'm not going to see it any time today. I can't even peak on youtube because all the videos have vanished and replaced with a message telling me javascript isn't enabled. No tips on how to change that, just a link to downloading flashplayers that don't work (the players that is, not the link). So. How to pass the time?

In no particular order...

1. Watch Alan Stevens bitch
Well, it seems he's not brave enough to try the "Dr Ood Murderer Sue The BBC Line" and is now slagging off the whole New Series on the basis that he thought of a much cleverer ending to The Satan Pit than Matthew Jones did. And of course he left OG of his own free will because they weren't interested in passionate and lively debate (ie, agreeing with the One They Call Nyder). He then starts the textual equivalent of a punch up, leading to quite a few dubbing him tedious and uninteresting and to shut the HELL UP! I have to say I've lost any and all respect I had for the old conspiracy nutjob as he damns The Shakespeare Code (despite not watching it since it was screened) for an anti-lesbian subtext [having Shakespeare, the most human human ever, be bissexual obviously went over his head] but will praise Gridlock to the heavens because it had kittens in it. Yeah. No faults. Because of kittens. Even Sparacus holds an argument together better than that.

Drawback: Best leg it before they spoil Journey's End for me. BTS assholes with their ability to watch the thing live. Then they complain about it!

2. Watch Sparacus and LBC Go A Bit Loopy
The thing about Spara's stories is that when you look back at them, you can see how utterly ridiculous they are. Hilariously ridiculous in fact. But, at the time - even now - wading through the stories themselves, that choking stench of pomposity and seriousness hides the humor, intentional or not. But this time is different. This time, Spara rewrites The Stolen Earth so the Smoothe Scumbag defies all the laws of logic and manages to save the Doctor, only to let him get beaten up by some drug addict looters. While the Doctor regenerates, Ben confronts Davros and pours absinthe over him. This is somehow a good thing.
Uh, I've never been entirely sure whether or not Spara is nuts or a master comedian, but that single post gave more ammunition to the "just joshing" camp than the last five years. LBC, on the other hand, I am utterly convinced is pure evil and should be humanely caged and gassed by exhaust fumes, like the Indian Minah birds. Canetoads with wings.

Drawback: if anyone translates a certain poem, I could be stuffed.

3. Marvel at the most retarded TV Comic strip ever known
Now, anyone who has even glanced at this will know that the only available graphic novella of Doctor Who from 1964-78 redefined the terms "freaking insanity", but they weren't even close to what I have uncovered. Part of what makes this short tale so fucking deranged is that it's actually vaguely like Doctor Who. I could pitch that to RTD and not instantly be laughed out of the room (that would happen when the Welsh Imbecile points out he's actually quit and isn't interested).
So, just take this on board: it is the year 2044. Humanity has colonized an S3 planet called Hekton, but the colonists are crazy Regency period enthusiasts. Instead of domed colony cities and space ports, they construct mansions and villages and import people to be maids and butlers, like one big theme park. However, the Aristocrats have developed a taste for blood sports and become total fucking nutters. They turn on each other for sport and come up with even more violent and crude ways of hunting and duelling. And then, of course, the Doctor arrives and gets caught up in this madhouse. But as he makes a break for it, he gets bushwacked by an old enemy, but even they have underestimated the Rabid Nutters of Hekton!

Come on, admit it, that's kind of a cool idea. Vengeance on Varos meets The Androids of Tara, just the kind of demented idea that Doctor Who in the late 1970s could be prepared to show the populace. But that's just a summary, the execution (so to speak) is something else. Because the "old enemy"... is the Quarks!

Yes. The Quarks.

In 1978. In the wait for The Ribos Operation. The Quarks.

But oh, no, the insanity doesn't stop there, boys and girls. It's barely started. For although the Fourth Doctor is purported to take part in this story, and Tom Baker's photo is in the logo, this is in fact a story for another Doctor. And not in the Gerry Davis "I'll just act like Troughton's still the Doctor and let Holmes sort it all out" way you might expect. This is a Second Doctor comic strip dragged up as a Fourth Doctor comic. It's heartbreakingly pathetic!

I see no similarity, sah! None at all!

They seriously thought their readers would fall for this.

JNT muses that an unconvincing wig might make you mistake a short, impish Doctor for a big, loud, imposing Doctor, and decides to rewrite the first scene of Time and the Rani.

And you thought Rememberance of the Daleks and Silver Nemesis were uncomfortably similar...

Drawback: it's actually kind of depressing to have your intelligence so utterly insulted. TV Comic did some messed up bollocks, but at least it was original. Plus it's slack that the original didn't have Jamie in it. It still feels wrong to see the Second Doctor without companions...

4. Tinker With Your Chronic Rift Spoofs
Or, The Cardiff Rift as I thought of naming it. Instead of two clueless scientists opening a portal in reality, allowing different universes to collide with nothing more spectacular than a hairy monster and some evil eyepatch-wearing duplicates, I considered something massive. With all the returning companions. And monsters and aliens. Having seen The Stolen Earth, it suddenly feels so passe. So instead I tinkered with the the lacklustre regeneration scene to give Jeff Coburn a better send off, but I might have overdone it...

Doctor: I'm afraid... afraid... that I'm more beat up than I've let on. But with any luck... I can still survive... without having to do the whole... body changing repair deal...

(The Doctor holds his hand out before him and stares at it apprehensively. The veins shimmer with a golden light for a moment, and then it's gone. The Doctor cheers up.)

Doctor: Oh, no. False alarm...

(His whole hand glows with an orange light. The Doctor winces.)

Doctor: Aw, crap... No, I can't go through with it... I can't... I won't! I will NOT give in... I defy augury, so destiny can go hang!

(And suddenly, he is propelled backwards with a blast of golden light. He clutches his stomach as though he has been punched, then falls to the ground in a dead faint.)

Chris: Doctor!

Doctor: Things are looking bleak... Well, I, I suppose this is it then, Chris... Oh, this is it... Shift over... The die is cast... There's nothing... that can be done for me... any more...

Chris: But you can't die! It is not possible! It is impossible! It is the OPPOSITE of POSSIBLE!

Doctor: No, Chris... I too can die... no one lives forever... not... even... Keith Richards...

(The Doctor's vision blurs and dims. Through the darkness, a familiar figure appears.)

Bastard: Hi, Doctor. I'm back. Mind if I cut in? Cause now you're out of the way, the universe is mine! Unless you want to play for keeps? Do ya know what it's like to be hit, Doctor? To be struck down, to have your hearts torn out and cut up into pieces? Do ya know what I'm talking about Doctor? Any idea? Do you want fries on the side? Sir? Can I help you, sir? Do you wanna fry? You're gonna fry... I love these psychological games! Go on, little boy. Let yourself die. Why don't you die? Don't have the guts, eh? Finish it off! What are you waiting for? Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile... smile... smile...

(The Bastard blurs out of focus, and Mark Tryhard becomes visible in her place.)

Mark: (Disgusted) Honestly, Doctor, just look at yourself! Lower than this you cannot sink! Pull yourself together, trigger a full scale metabolic change and get over youself - for the love of god, you are an immortal Time Lord of Gallifrey and you're dying from a couple of pissweak cuts and grazes which any loser with half a brain cell could have avoided... You're a weak, spineless dog and don't ever summon me on a deathbed flashback ever again! DOCTOR, YOU MAKE ME SICK! THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT YOU!!!

(Mark blurs and dissolves into Colonel Charles Chrichton of UNIT Britain.)

Chrichton: You all hate me! Yes, you do, you ALL hate me! And I know why! It's because I've got a tin leg, isn't it?! I had a Japanese Samurai sword, and I don't know where it is! I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate everything! Oh, Christ, I've got the fear again!

(The image blurs and we see Dara Hamilton.)

Dara: Look on the bright side, Doctor, you got to meet ME before you died, and you know that so many people depend on ME and I'M the one who mustn't die! I still have so much to do! I'm far too important to waste time on you, so I'll just dance erotically as the last thing you ever see... GOD, I am SO hot right now!

(She starts to strip when the image clears as the Doctor sits bolt upright, on the verge of panic.)

Doctor: DARA!!

Chris: Doctor! You still live...

Doctor: My past is catching up with me! Oh, god that was frightening! My whole life flashed before me! It was sort of one long relentless collage of grey, indespursed with guest appearances by UNIT and returning monsters! I wish... I just wish... I just wish my life had just... just... just been COMPLETELY different! I must try to regenerate and cheat fate! Mind you... pissing fate off might not be the smartest thing to do at the moment...

(The Doctor grins idiotically, overtaken by an invisible power and can talk no more. He is reduced to incoherent mutter until his head falls back, sagging into unconscious. Suddenly, he convulses and orange energy explodes from his skin, blasting out of the holes in his clothes. Engulfed in the golden blaze, the Doctor begins to regenerate!)

Chris: What is happening? What is happening?! I warn thee, I'm going to keep asking until I get an answer...

(Chris staggers backwards, shielding her eyes from the heat and light - but she cannot look away. She stares transfixed, as gradually, the Doctor's hair lengthens, his face changes... until the blazing energy eventually dies away, finishing as suddenly as it began.)

Chris: Doctor, what is happening to you?!

(And a completely new man is lying before her, still wearing the old Doctor's clothes. He looks slightly surprised for a moment, stares at the ceiling for a moment before turning to look at Chris.)

New Doctor: Change and renewal all around I see!

(Chris just stares with undisguised shock at the loony in the Doctor's ragged clothes. He grins.)

New Doctor: Forgive me, my dear Cleo Baxter, I'm feeling grotesquely emotional! I have crossed the great divide between one incarnation and the next - AND IT HURT LIKE HELL!

(He screams in pain for a second, then acts like nothing happened.)

Chris: Who art thou? What hast thou done with my lord Doctor?

New Doctor: Haha! I -AM- THE DOCTOR! Now, to work! I have been given a NEW life! My hour is come at last! I've struck oil! Oh, the responsibilities of Time's Champion! (Grimly) Best be careful not to make a bloody balls up of THIS one...

...less is more, yet brevity is the soul of wit, maybe... Still, it has a good pedigree, as I recently discovered that Rob Holmes wrote a very different regeneration scene in Caves of Androzani where the Doctor snaps out of his hallucination screaming that Adric is coming for his soul, and regenerates just to escape the spotty twerp. Well, I assume it was Rob Holmes. Actually, looking at it again with all the blunt functional dialogue and utter contempt for all concerned, it's probably Saward who wrote it instead.

Drawback: not funny enough.

5. Ruminate on what an asshole Saward was for a few moments
Nuff said.

Drawback: what drawbacks?

6. Ask yourself whether or not RTD should have redesigned the Daleks?
Watching him in last week's Doctor Who Confidential, he passionately notes that he could never in all conscience, radically redesign the Daleks since they were a cultural icon in their own right and challenged anyone to come up with a design that sank into the public consciousness so well after 40+ years. Yet, in the same episode, there were some pretty heavy-looking redesign sketches in the background, including on Dalek that seemed to have horns for crying out loud. They then had the temerity to show off this not-actually-minor-redesign sketches to Raymond Cusak himself!

Yet, I recently uncovered a DWM from 1989, probably the last one before the word "cancellation" became discussed, where the big designer suggested they have Remembrance wipe out the Old Daleks, and bring in the new ones. With the same brief, he allowed himself to design the metal bastards on an unlimited Hollywood budget while working out all the little flaws. This is what he came up with.

Notable are all the barbed wire tips that stop people grabbing it, no eyestalk to aim for, and sheilded eye-discs that you can't block, along with even more guns and lethal claws. They are smaller, skutter-sized, dark green things that are also highly radioactive. Yet I look at this and find myself imagining all the Dalek wannabes I've ever seen, and also visualizing that huge glowing-eyed toothy buggy thing from Blake's 7: Dawn of the Gods.

Have we been robbed, or is this design proof you can't catch lightning in a bottle twice? YOU DECIDE... because, you know, I don't actually care that much...

Drawback: I want to see proper Daleks, dammit!

7. Speaking of Blake's 7...
I find myself wondering YET AGAIN how the hell this ITV remake is to work. Picture the scenes...

(Scorpio flight deck. Avon (Marc Warren), Tarrant (Ben Miles), Vila (Simon Pegg), Dayna (Freema Agyeman) and Soolin (Georgia Moffet) are present.)
SOOLIN: Darlon 4 was an agricultural world. The settlers were sent there to grow crops, raise timber. They were farmers, my family among them. They were given title to the land.
AVON: And then somebody discovered there was more profit under the ground than there was on top of it, only the farmers were in the way, and the law was on their side. Hence the Open Planet designation.
TARRANT: What, get rid of the law you get rid of the problem? [To Avon] You seem to know a lot about it.
AVON: Wikipedia is an excellent research tool.

(Durkim (Rowan Atkinson) and Servalan (Emily Fox) are in the IT department.)
DURKIM: Look, everything you've just seen has one common denominator.
SERVALAN: Computers.
DURKIM: Not computers. Computer. Singular. Very singular indeed. Our unbeatable control and coordination centre.
DURKIM: Servalan, by design or accident Star One is failing.
SERVALAN: Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?

Drawback: the real cast will never be that good.

8. Brood over how utterly screwed up this last week has been
Reeling from the glimpses I'd had of The Stolen Earth, Monday morning came to an unpleasant start to discover my dad had started pissing blood. And he hadn't fallen over or eaten broken glass or anything else to automatically explain such haemoglobin-laced mituration...

And I cried. I managed to get my insane manic optimism back up as my parents headed down to the local Dr. John Vidalis, but a nagging thought along the lines of "they're over fifty they're not immortal one of them was always going to go first and why the hell did you think there was ever going to be a happy ending?" crossed my mind. Nothing obvious occured to Dr. John, so he directed my dad to have lots of interesting ultrasounds, requiring him to be able to control his blood-filled bladder enough to do so. Plus of course the constant dashing-to-the-lavatory-screaming-in-agony-leaving-the-place-blood-spattered, which REALLY cheered everyone up.

Dr. John provided a mess of special drugs which would help my dad... and somehow fate conspired to lock the drugs in my mum's car. With no way to get them because the key was at Alex the Mechanic's. Running there at top speed I found out that a) the key was there, but in two pieces and thus useless b) Partners in Crime didn't get a mention in the Guide. Finally, Alex managed to glue the key together, neglecting to inform me he'd improved the key... leaving it jagged, razor sharp and red hot. As I discovered soon after.

Trying to keep my dad's spirits up - cause, trust me, nothing can cure you if you give up - I spent around 72 hours awake trying to look after my dad, watching an endless parade of Robin Hood and Mr. Gormsby. However, this somehow managed to overload my immune system, and the next day when a mini tornado blew through town spreading dust and pollen everywhere, I sneezed straight all day, then had a coughing fit, and around the time of Spics and Specs I collapsed in a fever for a good 20 hours that finally broke. Having to look after me AND my dad wore my mother's resolve to the bone... not that either of us were particularly demanding but we were both as sick of dogs with no obvious way to help and in my dad's case, possibly fatally. On Thursday night she broke down in tears, convinced my dad was doomed and since she is the only surviving member of her side of the family, she has a reason to be pessimistic. I pointed out that my dad's condition started suddenly, without warning. He went straight to a doctor and at some point the medication had helped him enough to go to the lavatory without turning it into a Tarantino gore flick. But deep down she didn't feel there was any hope, and niether, frankly, did my dad. For them, the best hope was that it would be survivable prostate surgery and maybe he'd last the year.

I maintained with a passion rivalled only by "Ben Chatham is canon" that my dad would be all right.

Guess what?

I was right! Not that that happens much nowadays.

However, my parents, so psychologically prepared for bad news, almost fainted at the realization he just passed a kidney stone and he was fully recovered and, in fact, his kidneys and liver were in even better condition than a man of his age had a right to ask for... considering he's an Irish who downs a cask of white wine every two days.

And after all this, we're all still more interested in whether or not DT is regenerating...

Drawback: next time, no second chances...

9. Form a cunning plan
With a serious nefarious tricks too detailed to mention here, I manage to get the trailer buffer to let me watch the first 50 seconds of Journey's End. However, what with all the credits crammed into the title sequence, and the catchup, I see absolutely NOTHING new. Darn. But seriously, how cool does Davros look? They better not kill him off... again... it's just getting dull now.

Drawback: what part of this needs explaining?

10. Try to read Angel: After The Fall
Fate having lead to watching the final few episodes of Angel (voted unanimously as "best TV theme tune ever" by my giddy-with-relief parents), I find myself wondering what happened after the cliffhanger finale, with our four surviving heroes left in a back alleyway as a massive army of unkillable demons and monsters charge towards them, specifically there to hack the main cast into tiny little pieces. With no other plan than to go down fighting against their certain doom, Angel tells his last surviving followers to "get to work..."

Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the ensemble cast was unavailable and the series cancelled by network executives, so the story would continue in comic book form, specifically the established IDW ones that also do Doctor Who. So then we get to see what happened next...

Except. We don't. It starts months after the battle where Team Angel was managing to win so the Senior Partners of the Apocalypse ripped Los Angeles from time and space and sent it straight to Hell where all sorts of demons devastate the town. Angel is left roaming a ruined law firm accompanied by the damned ghost of Wesley, who bought it back in the final episode, effectively under house arrest with no one to talk to bar the dragon he befriended during the unseen big fight.

Gunn, last seen bleeding to death as he tried to stand upright... is now a vampire with a grudge, leading a faux band of resistance fighters saving humans from the demons... and then eating them. Gunn, what with his pathological hatred of the undead, has gone ever so slightly nuts since he became one of them, and is now trying to murder Angel. And capture a sarcastic giant telepathic fishhead. As you do.

Spike meanwhile, has retired to a playboy mansion with hordes of hot bunny girls with Illyria as his private bodyguard, and we discover the Help The Helpless thing which the whole show is about is now being run by Connor, Angel's son, Nina, Angel's ex girlfriend turned werewolf, and Electric Gwen. GWEN!? The fact that all three of these people somehow made it to each other is frankly pushing the limits of credulity. That they were all in Los Angeles at all at the end of the series is outright lunacy as Angel told the first two to run for the hills before the fighting started, and Gwen, well, what the hell?! That's the equivalent of Jack Harkness turning out to be Kamelion on a bender...

The point is, the narrative kind of makes sense until Illyria starts beating the shit out of Angel for upsetting her pet, Spike. Huh? Why does she care about Spike? She embraced nihilistic carnage last we saw, and last we saw she had a pretty good relationship with Angel. But if we can cope with this odd turn of characterization, I completely lose the plot as Angel suddenly gets complete amnesia and starts thinking he's a puppet, then a baby, then... no. I'm lost. This is just baffling me.

And why the hell continue the story of Angel in a comic strip if you announce there'll only be one story? Surely Joss Whedon has the power to get at least ONE TV movie together if the series only needed one more episode for cliff's sake...

Drawback: reminds me no comics are going to continue Doctor Who after today.

11. Judgment Day
My predictions for who lives and who dies
The Tenth Doctor: survives. Eventually.
Donna: survives.
Wilf: survives.
Sylvia: if there is a God, she's dead meat.
Rose: dead. Ms Piper seems far too busy to stay as a semi regular, and her meekly going back to another universe, I do not buy.
Mickey: dead. He IS kinda redundant without Rose.
Jackie: survives, to be with her baby and Pete.
Sarah: survives.
Luke: survives.
Jack: dies. Yet survives. He does that.
Ianto: dies. He feels mortal today.
Gwen: on the cusp. Seems to be a big thing in Torchwood 3, could go either way.
Dalek Caan: dies.
Supreme Dalek: might make it. Depends on whether or not he turns out to be Harriet Jones in drag.
Davros: dies. Because we're pathologically unable to do a Davros story without blow him up in spitting distance of an escape pod.
Human carnage: to be completely reversed.
Jundoon outrage: left ignored until 2010.
Wierd shit in the TARDIS finale scene: equivalent of Marley's Ghost in the time rotor.
The Master: killed by Gene Hunt after he dissed Clint Eastwood.
The Hand of the Rani: turns out to be Thing from the Adams family with a sex change. Or Alex Drake.
Billis Manger: Who?
Owen: his brain survives and is put in a fishtank, and becomes the new Orac.
Tosh: similar, except she's called Slave.
Marion Neston: turns out to be Jenny Who and breathes out a plume of smoke allowing her to regenerate. She find out she's been buried in Palestine and has to make ends meet until returning for the Season Three finale at Nottingham.

Drawback: right or wrong, it'll always be a copout...

12. Click "publish post"
Drawback: Oh, the irony.


Cameron Mason said...

if anyone translates a certain poem, I could be stuffed



Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Yeah, what the hell DID happen to Bilis Manger? And who the hell IS he? Torchwood S1 would have been a lot better if that had been expanded on..

Sorry to hear about yet more dramas in your family. From your stories it sounds like something traumatic happens every week.

Ah, looking back through the post.. oh God those painted-over 'Tom Baker' comic strips are astonishingly awful. AND LAZY. If they at least drew a scarf on top it might have at least half-worked!

I really LIKE that Dalek design, too..

Youth of Australia said...

Yeah, what the hell DID happen to Bilis Manger? And who the hell IS he? Torchwood S1 would have been a lot better if that had been expanded on..
Apparently, he has his entire backstory explained in a book by Gary Russell... apparently.

Sorry to hear about yet more dramas in your family. From your stories it sounds like something traumatic happens every week.
I'd turn it to a brilliant soap called The Passing Parade, except I'm too busy living it...

Ah, looking back through the post.. oh God those painted-over 'Tom Baker' comic strips are astonishingly awful. AND LAZY. If they at least drew a scarf on top it might have at least half-worked!
I'm amazed at how bad the painted on hair is. You can actually see the globs of paint have been scraped onto a photocopy...

I really LIKE that Dalek design, too..
Something about it isn't right for me. Maybe it's the two big eyes that make the whole thing look like a helmet rather than a body... like the Seers in Underworld. No, wait, it's the Helmet from The Liesure Hive!

And is it me or is there something vaguely shark-like about it?

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Apparently, he has his entire backstory explained in a book by Gary Russell... apparently.

Hmm, I can understand the difficulty in validating that..

I'm amazed at how bad the painted on hair is. You can actually see the globs of paint have been scraped onto a photocopy...

It does look more like a hat...

Something about it isn't right for me. Maybe it's the two big eyes that make the whole thing look like a helmet rather than a body...

Well, I like it as a badguy design, not specifically as a Dalek design, I should say.

Youth of Australia said...

Hmm, I can understand the difficulty in validating that..
Well, I haven't read it.

It does look more like a hat...
I should like a hat like that...

Well, I like it as a badguy design, not specifically as a Dalek design, I should say.
Yeah. Could work. It has an air of menace to it. Must be all the downturned lines.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Oh, and I just read that DWAD thing - I thought it was pretty funny. Especially Crichton's cameo.

You've got plenty of time to polish it up, haven't you?

(Could have David Segal trying to appear in the montage only for the Doctor to shunt him away, stuff like that...)

Youth of Australia said...

Oh, and I just read that DWAD thing - I thought it was pretty funny. Especially Crichton's cameo.
I was worried it wasn't funny enough. I was trying to aim for the balance I got killing off Eccleston... it's hard writing out a Doctor you actually LIKE.

But the reason Crichton's in it at all is simply because I couldn't think of anyone to turn up in the flashback...

You've got plenty of time to polish it up, haven't you?
I suppose. But it's the one bit I've been having real trouble with.

(Could have David Segal trying to appear in the montage only for the Doctor to shunt him away, stuff like that...)

Lighthope said...

> Chris: But you can't die! It is
> not possible! It is impossible! It

Actually, that was a pretty funny line. Sounds like something they'd do on Futurama, and I love Futurama.